Tougher line needed on skateboard breaches

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012

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A Timaru District councillor is concerned the council is not properly enforcing its own bylaws when it comes to the issue of skateboarding in prohibited areas of the town.

Councillor Terry Kennedy contacted the Herald after an article published on Friday on complaints about skateboarders' frequent use of the square in front of the Timaru i-Site and Speight's Ale House.

Skateboarding is prohibited in that area and many other parts of the city under a council bylaw brought in in 2007.

Violators can have their skateboard impounded for three days and must pay a $25 fine to have it returned.

"I believe our parking attendants were told to alert council staff to skateboarding in prohibited areas when this bylaw was created, and up until [the Herald] article I believed that's what was happening," Mr Kennedy said.

"If you're going to have bylaws, they have to be able to be policed."

Council chief executive Peter Nixon said the bylaw was enforced by the police, security provider First Security and the council bylaws officer.

Mr Nixon said he was unsure of how often enforcement actions weretaken against people skateboarding in prohibited areas, but "it raises its head from time to time".

A group of more than 40 young skateboarders had been spotted in various parts of the city, including the i-Site area.

The teenagers said they went to other locations to skateboard when they were driven out of the Caroline Bay skatepark by crowds of younger children on scooters.

It was a problem that got worse during school holidays, they said.

Council Parks and Recreation manager Bill Steans said he was not aware of any complaints about the skatepark being filled with young children.

It was originally built to be used by all age groups, Mr Steans said.

"I do know that occasionally school groups have used the facility, and this could perhaps contribute to congestion at times."

Mr Kennedy said he was concerned because the cost of any damage caused by the skateboarders to public facilities would ultimately fall on the ratepayers.

If the teenagers had a problem with the skatepark facilities they needed to bring it to the council's attention, he said.

"We built a park for them, and if there's something else that's needed, they've got to form a group and ask the council for what they want. But they've also got to be prepared to stand in line."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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